In the current data revolution, the same thing is happening as during the internet revolution of the 1990s: ad agencies are a bit slow to join the party. Like a Wizard of Oz, they’re happily reclining in the comfort of their creative magic box. They like to demonise data as a source of programmatic hard-sell practices. Meanwhile, consultancies are evolving their hunting grounds, looking higher up in the hierarchy. They have their eye on the boardroom – you know, where the decisions are made. And on the data treasury, where they have a pretty nifty travel plan towards exponential growth.
Agencies’ natural forte is the power of imagination, and the ability to move fast. But here’s the question: have we, under the pressure of shrinking margins and growing time restraints, become makersmore than thinkers? Isn’t the client briefing passed on to creative too often without the thorough preparation it requires? Without astute insights into market, media and consumers? And in forgoing deep understanding, aren’t we taking an enormous risk that we’re crafting fantastic solutions to the wrong problem?
Why do we demonise data, instead of embracing it as a springboard? With the right data, strategists and creatives, who are always looking for the truffles in the orchard, can start digging under the right tree from the get-go. This lets creative hit the bull’s eye every time and gives ideas the best possible traction and exposure. Even clients with smaller media budgets will start growing on steroids. After all, the nail’s tip is more important than the hammer’s weight.
The winners in today’s marketing game combine hard marketing data with emotional insights. Antonio Damasiomeets Dr Phil. Put the right mix of science and humanities into a smoking Erlenmeyer flask, give it a stir – and, if at all possible, declaim some edifying intuitions – and you’ll have a magic potion that consultancies can only dream of – for now. Data refreshes parts that other advertising cannot reach!